From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gary "Big Hands" Johnson (born August 31, 1952
in Shreveport, Louisiana) is a
former American football player. He is a
graduate from Charlotte Mitchell High School in Bossier City, Louisiana, and
from Grambling State University
who played pro football from 1975–1985, the first nine years with
When Johnson was in the 8th grade, he wanted to pick up a
basketball in his P.E. class when his coach said, "Get your big
hands off my basketball." The nickname "Big Hands" was born.
Johnson was drafted in the 1st round with the 8th overall pick
by the Chargers in 1975 and was named to the NFL All-Rookie team.
In 1980 he led the NFL with 17-1/2 sacks, which is still a
Chargers' team record. That year, Johnson teamed with fellow 1975
Chargers' draftees Fred
Dean and Louie
Kelcher as the Chargers led the NFL in sacks (60). Johnson and
Dean were named 1st-team All-Pro, with Kelcher being named 2nd-team
All-Pro. The trio, along with Leroy
Jones formed a defensive frontline that was locally nicknamed
the Bruise Brothers, coined from a popular act at the time, The Blues Brothers.
Johnson again was named 1st team All-Pro in 1981, and was 2nd
team All-Pro in 1982. He was on Pro Bowl teams from 1980–1983. Don "Air" Coryell's
Chargers teams of that era are mostly remembered for its
high-scoring, pass-oriented offense. The Chargers won the AFC West
from 1979-1981 and made the playoffs in 1982.
In 1997 he was inducted into the College Football Hall of
Fame. In 1999 he was inducted into the San Diego Chargers Hall